How Big a 3D Printer can Print in 2024

Have you ever wondered how big a 3D printer can print? You’re not the only one as this question comes in everyones mind who is getting into 3d printing. So, In this article, we will explore this topic indept. By the time you finish reading, you will know all about the size limits of 3D printers.

How Big a 3D Printer can Print?

The current record for the largest 3D print is held by a boat named “3Dirigo,” which is 25 feet long and has a weight of 5,000 pounds, or about 2,267 kilograms. This 3D Print was accomplished at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. They used a very large 3D printer, measuring 100 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 10 feet high. The 3D print took over 72 hours to complete and used 5,000 pounds of a specialized composite material that’s 50% plastic and 50% wood cellulose

Before we go into more details we should know some basics of 3D Printing for better understanding.

What is FDM 3D Printing?

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is one of the most popular types of 3D printing. It is largely because it’s both cost-effective and user-friendly. In the FDM 3D printer a spool of filament—such as PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, or nylon—is loaded into the printer. The filament is then heated until it melts and is extruded through a nozzle to build the object layer by layer. 

The affordability of the materials and the easy mechanics of FDM printers make it the popular choice for both beginners and professionals. Ex. Ceality Ender 3, Prusa i3 MK3, and Elegoo kobra 2 etc.

What Does “Build Volume” Mean?

The term “build volume” refers to the maximum size of the object that a 3D printer can print. It’s measured in three dimensions: length, width, and height. The larger the build volume, the bigger the object you can print. It’s a main factor to consider when choosing a 3D printer, especially if you want to print bigger objects.

Why the size of a 3d printer is important?

3D printers come in many build volumes, from compact desktop 3D printers to large industrial 3D printers. The size of the object you can print depends on the build volume of your 3D printer. For example, some desktop 3D printers can print objects as small as 6x6x6 inches, while industrial 3d printer can print models can go up to 36x36x36 inches in build volume

How Big You Can Print Using different types of 3D Printer

Low range Printers

Desktop 3D printers are compact and easy to use 3D printers, designed to fit on your desk or workbench. They are the popular go-to choice among hobbyists, educators, and someone who is getting into 3d printing

For example, the Ender 3 V2 has a build volume of 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches, making it an excellent choice for your small projects and educational purposes. On the other hand, the Artillery Sidewinder X1 comes with a slightly larger build volume of 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.7 inches, making it suitable for intermediate users who want a bigger build volume.

Mid-Range Printers

Mid-range 3D printers which are a little bit more expensive than the low range 3d printer. Mid range 3D printers offers larger build volumes and come with more advanced features like ABL, 32-bit processors, filament runout sensors, belt tensioners, etc. making them ideal for printing complex and larger objects and can also be used in print farm

For example, the Prusa i3 MK3S has a build volume of 9.8 x 8.3 x 8.3 inches and is a popular choice among small businesses and advanced hobbyists. The Creality CR-10 V3 has a build volume of 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.7 inches and is another excellent option for those looking to create professional prototypes or architectural models.

Industrial Printers

When it comes to industrial 3D printers, the sky’s the limit. These machines are made for large-scale, high-quality printing and are commonly used in sectors like aerospace, automotive, and healthcare. 

For example, the Stratasys Fortus 900mc has a massive build volume of 36 x 24 x 36 inches and is used for printing aerospace components and large prototypes. Another industrial 3D printer is the Modix BIG-120X, which has a build volume of 47.2 x 23.6 x 25.1 inches and is ideal for manufacturing and large architectural models.

How to Print Big When Your Printer is Small?

Even if you have a smaller printer, you can still undertake large projects. Here’s how:

Print in Pieces

If your object is too large to fit within the build volume, you can divide it into smaller parts using 3D modeling software. After printing, you can assemble the parts to create a full-sized object.

Glue it Together

Another approach you can follow is to print separate sections of your object and then bond them together using adhesives. It can provide a strong bond, making the object just as sturdy as if it were printed as a single piece.

Use a Tiling Approach

For flat or wall-like objects, consider using a tiling approach. Print smaller tiles of the larger object and then assemble them together. This is useful for large signs or display pieces.

Conclusion

So, how big can an FDM 3D printer print? Well, it depends on the build volume of your 3d print. From small low range 3d printers to mid range  to huge industrial 3d printers and even if 3d printers don’t have enough build volume, you can still print bigger models but in pieces and then put them together.

FAQ

1. Can you 3D print big things?

  • Yes, you can! The size depends on your 3D printer. Small 3D printers print items, but industrial 3D Printers can print huge objects. Even on a small 3D printer you can print objects in part and then put them together.

2. What is the largest object printed using a 3D printer?

  • The largest object ever 3D printed is a boat. This boat is 25 feet long and weighs 5,000 pounds (2,267 KG).

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